Beginner’s guide to betting on Royal Ascot

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Photo: Nigel French/PA Wire/PA Images

If you only attend one racing event this year, it should be Royal Ascot. It has more glamour than an episode of The Crown and is officially the Queen’s favourite week of the year – last year a diary clash with the State Opening of Parliament almost caused a constitutional crisis!

As new betting sites bring new punters, here are our top tips on backing the winner.

Online bets

If hob-nobbing with royalty isn’t your thing, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your sofa to back a runner, thanks to online betting.

There are new horse racing betting sites and apps appearing every week, and the newer ones often offer the best deals to attract new customers.

It’s a good idea to check out a comparison site like to see the latest betting sites and find out what bonus deals and free bets they have on offer. After all, if you are going to place a bet why not do it with someone else’s money!

Study the form

If you are going to Ascot, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The races come thick and fast and there is so much to see – from checking out the runners in the parade ring, to following the bookies. To avoid choice paralysis make sure you arrive with a rough plan.

Take time to study the form and understand which horses are the favourites, which outside shots are in with a chance of upsetting the form book, and how the conditions might alter things.

For example, last year’s favourite in the Gold Cup was Order of St George, who was narrowly beaten by Big Orange. The six-year-old is the favourite again this year, with Stradivarius a strong challenger. However, if the weather turns wet, Torcedor is in with a chance.

Being armed with information like this means you will be better equipped to take on changing circumstances and new information on the day, and place your bets accordingly.

Beware with each way bets

Those new to horse racing tend to use each way bets as something of a crutch. They are great under certain circumstances, but if you use them to excess, you’ll end up winning nothing.

Here’s the thing to remember: bookmakers set the terms to make sure they come out on top and make a profit. When the odds are in their favour, that’s generally what happens. But when you use each way betting shrewdly, you get an opportunity to turn the tables.

Look out for races where there is a strong favourite (typically at odds on), and where the horses in second or third are unlikely to win, but highly likely to place. Here, the bookie cannot set different odds for winning and placing. This means a 4/1 relative outsider becomes a highly tempting each way shot.

Bet beyond the horses

While you are soaking up the fun and atmosphere of Ascot, you can get into the spirit with some fun wagers that have nothing to do with the racing. One of the most popular is betting on the colour of the Queen’s outfit.

It’s typically a bright and vibrant colour to go with the summertime feel of the event, and the crowd always waits in anticipation for her to arrive by horse and carriage to get a glimpse of whether their first bet of the day is a winner.